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A woman in a denim jacket and striped pants leans down to pet a golden retriever. The scene takes place in a modern kitchen with reflections of the woman and dog visible on a glossy cabinet surface.
Pet Blog

How Limited Ingredient Dog & Cat Food Can Help Manage Pet Allergies

What are some signs that your pet might be having an allergic reaction to their food

Questions answered by Dr. Steve Sanderlin, D.V.M.:

Dr. Steve is holistic veterinarian from Boulder. He gives us advice on how to make seriously awesome pet food and also takes care of our office dogs in his mobile veterinary hospital. We are excited to share his knowledge on Limited Ingredient pet food.

What are some of the most common dietary ingredients that could cause allergies in pets

Many grains that are mass-produced in our country, such as wheat, corn, soy, are not natural sources of carbohydrates for our carnivorous companion family members. Dogs and cats require high quality proteins from animal organs and meat. Carbohydrates should be the minority ingredients, and they should come from a non-grain source and should be complex carbohydrates that are not mass-produced or genetically modified.

What are some signs that your pet might be having an allergic reaction to their food?

The most common signs of food allergies in pets are going to involve redness/itching/dermatitis of the feet, under arms, inner thighs, ears, face, and digestive issues, such as, chronic maldigestion with diarrhea, and gas production. Possibly even colitis with blood and mucus in the stool.

Not all Limited Ingredient Diet (LID) food is grain-free, why is this?

Not all grains are naturally bad or harmful for companion animals. Some ancient grains such as rice, oats and quinoa are easily digested by some dogs and cats.

Once I switch my pet to a new allergy friendly food how long should I wait before I expect results?

Once a pet is started on a new diet, it can take up to 4 months before seeing any definitive improvement based on feeding the new ingredients, and avoiding previous diet ingredients.

Any other words of wisdom regarding food allergies for pets?

Generally, it is recommended that when allergies are suspected, to feed a simple single source protein, and single source complex carbohydrate in a non grain diet for several weeks to four months and monitor for improvement of symptoms.

Do you want to try limited ingredient food for your pet? Click to learn more about Lovingly Simple™ for dogs and cats.

About Dr. Steven M. Sanderlin, D.V.M.

Dr. Sanderlin graduated from Texas A&M University's College of Veterinary Medicine in 1996. He has practiced conventional and holistic small animal, avian, and exotics medicine in the Boulder/Denver areas for the last 15 years. Before moving to Colorado, he also practiced for 3 years in Houston at a 10-doctor small animal hospital.

His special interests are preventing illness and disease by educating guardians, or pet owners, about natural, wholesome diets, herbs, and supplements. Also, Dr. Sanderlin recommends only core vaccine protocols and offers vaccine blood titers for both cats and dogs to avoid over-vaccination.